Saturday, April 2, 2016

Theological Fitness: Part Ten

This is the last chapter, "Active Rest", of Aimee's fine book, Theological Fitness, and I am full of things to write for the Sunday after Easter--tomorrow. Of course not as many people will be in church the Sunday after Easter as the above graphic shows. And, those who follow "the regulative principle" will certainly cringe. My church in Florida of which I am a member does observe that principle. But I moved. How I am attending a Reformed church (EPC) that studies TULIP and the Confessions, but also does an Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday with foot washing, some years Good Friday, probably always Easter Sunrise and to top it off had a flash mob that joined the choir for the "Hallelujah Chorus" last week on Easter. Even though I am a senior citizen, I have never had the cross on my forehead and had my feet washed in a service until this year. My worship has been heightened! It is pure legalism if I look to those services for salvation, but I do not. Worship means ascribing worth to our LORD. The visual and physical expressions of faith are not my idols, but a way to celebrate the cross and resurrection. 

Hebrews 10:23-25

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope

without wavering,

for He who promised is faithful.

And let us consider one another

in order to stir up 

and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as is the manner of some,
but exhorting one another,
and so much more as you see the Day approaching."

Having moved to a new city (Huntsville, Alabama) and meeting new people, I am so surprised by the "minimalist Christians"*, maybe also called "evangelical" by the politicians. They do not practice that assembling and accountability of the church. One new friend watches TV preachers religiously and only! 

Again, Aimee Byrd's questions from the end of her book are in red and my answers are in black

1. Has this chapter changed your thinking about proper rest?   For instance, when we consider how the Lord rested after creation, how does that affect your understanding of rest?  I notice that especially since I am a senior citizen I need to take advantage of Sabbath rest. Rather than feel guilty, I have finally realized, Sabbath rest is proper. 

2. What is the relationship between rest and fitness, both physically and spiritually? We recover physically and spiritually through rest. In other words how does something that seems so counter-productive factor in to our conditioning and stamina? Have you every seen the Gaither's on TV? Lots of those saints, I am afraid to say, need physical conditioning. We recover physically and spiritually through rest. 
3. What is your relationship to work? I am semi-retired and finishing up a seminary counseling dissertation on dementia caregiving.  How does the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday under the new covenant represent the way we should think about work? We are looking for the rest to come as we celebrate His resurrection EVERY Sunday. Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament law. 

4. When you consider the rest that we have now and the eternal rest that is to come, does that make any difference to the way that you view your typical Sunday?   Having read Randy Alcorn's Heaven I look forward to the eternal worship of God.  What are your thoughts about how we should observe the Sabbath?   I need to wake up and make it special! Instruction in adult Sunday School or teaching of Sunday School, corporate worship and fellowship with believers specifically are part of my Sunday. Often I eat out after worship with believers from the church. My special day! 

5. Do you ever find yourself striving for validation from sources that could never satisfy? Absolutely! I have to guard against pride in areas of my life.

6. How do we strive for rest?  I think we need to plan for Sunday as we plan for our work week. We need to wake up Sunday morning and enjoy the day--it is a celebration of His resurrection just as much as an Easter celebration is a celebration. Every Sunday is special.   

7. How is being a "summoned being" related to being in a covenantal relationship with God? Not sure of the word liturgy, but really like what Aimee wrote on p. 183. 
Yet thinking about the emotion that validation brings, I remember that there is a reason for this longing--we will be validated in Christ. Once day, all those covered in his righteousness will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." We crave validation because we should. We hear that blessing every week in the covenant renewal ceremony of Sunday worship. But on that great day, we will hear God himself say that he is pleased with us. And he will be our great reward.
What, then, is the significance of theological fitness in this liturgy? 
What is this eternal rest that we anticipate? Is it merely inactivity? As we learn about the Sabbath, we see that Christ is our rest. In one sense, rest is a place. Verses like Hebrews 4:1, 3-5, 8 and 10 use Greek words that can be translated "abode"or "to colonize". The context here reminds us of the land of Canaan that was to be the Israelite's rest, as well as the rest of God after creation. On Sunday, Christ's covenant community assembles together in a local place for worship. Here we are given Christ and all of his benefits. (p. 183-184 of Theological Fitness)

Carol, here,
just as excited about the Sunday after Easter

*Heard that term at Ligoneer in February--see last blog post. 


  1. Your new church sounds like a breath of fresh air! So happy you have found a new church family!

    I am learning to take planned rest periods in the afternoon to help me physically. I never thought of connecting those rest periods to our Sabbath rest found in Christ alone. Neat thought!

    1. I am still a member in FL where I grew so much. Had the privilege of worshipping there two Sundays in February when I also brought my seminary dissertation draft there. That FL denomination just isn't in Huntsville where I moved to. Eventually I will join a Huntsville church--most likely the one with the flash mob Easter "Hallelujah" chorus.

  2. New slogan: "Make Christmas great again. Skip church."

    Christmas is ONLY great because it celebrates the birth of Christ. It used to be that there were Christmas and Easter Christians who came to church those two days only.

    Now just hijack the holiday from church! This year December 25 is on Sunday.


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